Assessing the Use of the Measure of Acceptance of the Theory of Evolution
The Measure of Acceptance of the Theory of Evolution (MATE) was constructed to be a single factor instrument that assesses an individual’s overall acceptance of evolutionary theory. The MATE was validated and the scores resulting from the MATE were found to be reliable for the population of inservice high school biology teachers. However, many studies have utilized the MATE for different populations, such as university students enrolled in a biology or genetics course, high school students, and preservice teachers. This is problematic because the dimensionality of the MATE may not be consistent across populations. In order to address this issue, this manuscript explores the dimensionality of the MATE for the population of preservice elementary teachers. With this objective in mind, rating scale and partial credit Rasch models are fit to the observed data to provide evidence for or against a one-dimensional latent structure. It was found that both of the models exhibit a lack of fit, although the fit of the partial credit model was superior to the fit of the graded response model. Further analysis revealed potential sources of model misfit. The results of this study call into question any findings and conclusions made using the MATE for any population other than inservice high school biology teachers.